Swarovski's Customer in the Digital dissertation

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Based on the attributes of luxury brand, the luxury brand requires special marketing strategy to achieve brand objectives. The strategy assists in developing global brand reputation as well as forming brand awareness within the global competitive environment. (Moore and Birtwistle 2005).

In the contemporary marketing environment, experiential marketing has become a cornerstone of marketing, and retailing for luxury brand. Experiential marketing is the technique of viewing consumer as an emotional and rational being who aims to achieve pleasurable experiences. (Atwal et al. 2008). Typically, experiential marketing offers customer memorable experiences in order to achieve customer satisfaction and competitive market advantages. The experiential marketing uses different tools to create the memorable experiences for customers. For example, experiential marketing organizes entertainment for customers in order to educate them, allow them to escape the reality, as well as giving them aesthetic objects or places to see. Experiential marketers use different tools to create experience which include: FEEL (affective experience); THINK (cognitive experiences); SENSE (sensory experience); ACT (behaviors, lifestyles and physical experiences), RELATE (social-identity experiences acquired by relating to a reference culture or group). (Snakers & Zajdman, 2010).

However, academics and marketing practitioners have developed different frameworks to develop experiential marketing strategies. Smith (2003) develops a six-step process. The first step is to audit customer experience in order to evaluate and assess the current brand experience. The second step is to create a brand platform that focuses on defining a clear brand positioning. The third stage is to design the brand experience, which involves alignment of the brand's products, processes and people against the brand proposition. The fifth step is to communicate the brand internally and externally, while the final step involves monitoring the performances to ensure the brand is delivered with reference to defined objectives.

Similarly, Hogan et al. (2004) also identifies the key customer segment for luxury brand. First, the democratisation of luxury has significantly changed luxury consumption. The evaluation of customer data is also an essential tool to identify most profitable customer. This strategy assists in aligning the brands to right customer. The touchpoint chain is the second step where there is interaction between the brand and the target customer according to the phases of purchase, pre-purchase, and post-purchase. More importantly, experiential marketing integrates tradition into innovation, precision, dynamism, emotion and aesthetics. This strategy assists in entering into dialogue with customer.

On the other hand, Pedraza (2007) argues that the development of new technologies has influenced the practice of experiential marketing. The internet technology has particularly assisted the communication and distribution of luxury goods. Survey conducted by Pedraza (2007) shows that 88% of wealthy consumer have preferred internet as a research avenue for product, while 38% of wealthy consumer prefer to purchase luxury products online versus 33%, who prefer to purchase the luxury items by the traditional face-to-face technique. This has shown that luxury fashion brand create positive, compelling and enjoyable customer experience for online shoppers.

On the other hand, Oh and Kim (2011) use differentiated marketing strategy to analyze the purchasing behavior of consumer who purchases the luxury item. The authors argue that many marketers have integrated both innovation and traditional system in the implementation of masstige (mass prestige) marketing, and advertising.

Emotional brand engagement has also been identified as effective tool experiential marketing for fashion jewelry.

Emotional Brand Engagement

Emotion involves feeling of consumer during the shopping experience. Pleasure, dominance and arousal are the positive aspect of emotion during customer's shopping time.

"Emotion is a mental state of readiness that arises from cognitive appraisals of events or thoughts. It is also a phenomenological tone accompanied by physiological processes often expressed physically (e.g. In gestures, posture, facial features)." (Snakers & Zajdman, 2010 P. 5).

On the other hand, emotional brand engagement is defined as the strategy to engage customer on the level of emotion and senses to forge a deep lasting and intimate emotional connection to the brand in order to create a holistic experience that makes customer to be emotional attached towards the brand. (Gobe, 2001). However, providing effective approach to branding experience requires coordination and integration of organizational effort to make customer feel good and satisfy with the consumption experience. Managing and creating effective emotional branding experiences could enhance brand differentiation, and consumer loyalty. The importance of emotion to attract customer loyalty towards products cannot be overlooked. Emotion plays important role in creating marketing message to attract the attention of consumer, and emotion is a powerful tool to stimulate purchase and brand interest. Thompson, et al. (2006) argue that emotional branding is widely heralded as a key to marketing success, and over the last few decades, emotional branding is being considered as highly influential brand management. Emotional branding paradigm focuses on relational, consumer-centric, as well as story-driven approach to forge deep bonds between consumer and brand. Typically, brand linkages are formed when branding strategies are formulated to understand customers' aspirations, inspirations, and life circumstances among brand users. Atkin, (2004) reveals that emotional view of consumer- brand relationships has been identified as the central pillar to market differentiation as well as being used as a tool to sustain competitive market advantage. Morrison et al. (2007) also provide similar argument by pointing out that customer's emotion is an effective tool to build strong brand, and emotion provides the powerful role in customer selection, loyalty, and satisfaction towards a specific brand, and emotion dynamic needs to be understood to build a strong brand. Typically, modern consumer no longer buy simple product and service for the sake of possessing product, however, they buy the emotional and wonderful experience around what is being sold.

Schmitt (2010) argues that customers are emotional as well as rationally driven who frequently engage in the rational choice driven by emotion. Typically, consumption is often driven in pursuit of fun fantasies, and feelings. Customers' physical and mental apparatus generate thoughts, feelings and sensation to solve problems. Customer experience occurs when encountering an object, and experience provides emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and relational and functional values. White & Steel (2006) also point out that Jewelry object carries multilayered meaning that involves the emotional quality of the interaction. The sensation of touch, gesture and feelings become physical, visual, and psychological elements. The circumstances create emotional attachment and sense of status for Jewelry user.

O'Shaughnessy et al. (2003) discuss three level of managing emotional brand engagement:

Managing emotional engagement at pre-purchase stage

Managing emotional engagement at purchase stage

Managing emotional engagement at post-purchase stage

During the pre-purchase stage of managing emotional engagement, marketing professionals consider the types of emotional contents to be included in the marketing messages. Characteristics of target customers are also important before drawing the contents of the pre-purchase stage to enhance customer emotional experience. This type of emotional contents at pre-encounter stage must be positive, elicit and its intended message should be directed to the intended customer. For the luxury brand such as Swarovski's brand, the slogan must be designed to elicit positive emotional reaction concerning the luxury brand. There is also a need to include message that must be brand specific, and customer segmentation is also important for the success of emotional brand engagement. Thus, marketing communication needs to be drawn to generate emotional branding effort. Marketing communication needs to generate emotion to stimulate purchasing behavior.

Managing emotional engagement at purchase stage is critical in the promotion of luxury goods. At this stage, there is a need for mutual understanding and best prediction of positive consumer reactions at the purchasing stage. Thus, communication providers need to design these elements into all aspects of the product brand experience. The environment should be inviting and should include civility and empathy to enhance extra customer attention. At this stage, interaction with customer is very critical and it should be done in such a way to enhance sense of control over the situation. Implementation of this criteria leads to more positive emotional experience. At this stage, it is critical to be innovative to create greater feelings of emotional experience for customers. (Pine II and Gilmore 1999).

Managing emotional brand is also critical at the post-purchase stage in order to increase customer loyalty as well as extending customer emotional attachment with the brand. Managing emotional brand at post-purchase stage could be implemented in several strategies. For example, a marketer can follow up customer after the purchase and offer discount for the return visits. Thank you note is particularly effective and firms may provide personal gift upon completion of the order. Sending greeting for birthdays is another effective method to be emotional connected with customers. (Pine II and Gilmore 1999). Analysis of the emotional brand engagement reveals that the most effective strategy that Swarovski needs to employ in creating and managing positive emotional brand experience during after the product purchase is to employ a well-designed and attractive atmosphere for the emotional brand creation. True customer experience, excitement and loyalty are the aspects of the emotional brand management, and the company needs to create, intense, active, and loyalty relationships between customer and the organization.…[continue]

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